The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is searching for the most improved and cleanest estero or waterway in Metro Manila for 2023.
In a press conference on Thursday, the DENR – National Capital Region (NCR) released the updated guidelines and the criteria for judging the “Gawad Taga-Ilog” (GTI) environmental competition among local government units (LGUs) in the region.
Now in its 4th year, the Gawad Taga-Ilog: Search for the Most Improved Estero in Metro Manila will focus on the three concepts of sustainability – economic, enhanced environment, and social.
DENR-NCR Executive Director Jacqueline Caancan said the search upgrades to a higher level, as it aims to ensure the sustainability of the progress achieved in previous years.
“As the Manila Bay, our rivers, esteros, and other waterways are interconnected, it is vital to possess the ability to maintain and support the ongoing best practices and innovative solutions and actions, to improve the condition of our waterways, ultimately contributing to the rehabilitation of Manila Bay,” Caancan said.
She added that GTI 4.0 aims to transform communities through sustained solutions and actions that would address the present challenges of Metro Manila’s waterways and the environment as a whole.
According to the updated guidelines, there will be two categories for this year, Category A, the typical search for the most improved estero in Metro Manila, and Category B, which is the battle of the previous winners.
The DENR-NCR said new entrants and non-winners from the previous years would be placed under Category A.
Caancan said this category targets seven waterways and every LGU would only be allowed to nominate one estero.
Category B, meanwhile, will be a battle for sustainability, where all past winners will compete with one another by demonstrating that their previously improved esteros have maintained their cleanliness up to this time.
This category will consist of 14 esteros.
“Nominees will be judged according to the LGUs’ management of their solid and liquid waste, informal settler families and illegal structures, habitat and resources, and sustainability and partnership. This set of criteria was based on the four clusters stated in the Operational Plan for Manila Bay Coastal Strategy,” Caancan said.
The weight of each criterion and indicator used from the past GTIs will be the same for those under Category A.
Category B’s criteria and indicators will also consider the economic and social aspects, as well as the enhanced environmental effects.
Both categories will consider solid and liquid waste management, informal settler families and illegal structures management, habitat and resources management, and sustainability and partnership management.
The DENR-NCR, its four Metropolitan Environment Offices, and the judges will conduct the screening process, field validation, and deliberation.
All 16 cities and one municipality of Metro Manila are encouraged to participate and nominate their chosen estero.
GTI 4.0 will run from November 2023 to February 2024.
Winners will be recognized on March 22, 2024 in line with the World Water Day. (PNA)